EXCLUSIVE: ABC Will End ‘Desperate Housewives’ In May 2012 After 8th Season
This morning ABC officially announced what Deadline readers already knew: that this coming season will be the last for veteran Desperate Housewives, which, along with Lost, turned ABC’s fortunes around in the fall of 2004. “It is an iconic show; we are so proud of it,” ABC entertainment president Paul Lee said. “I just wanted to make sure that the show that put the network on the map had its victory lap and had a chance to build a great final arc.” Lee was then joined by Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. “I think the only thing harder than creating a hit show is to know when to end it,” he said. “It’s something that has weighed on my mind for some time. I’m well aware of people who have overstayed their welcome, and I just didn’t want that to happen to us. I wanted to go out while the network still thought it was a viable series and while it still did well in the ratings; I wanted to go out in the classiest way possible.”

According to the network’s press release, the upcoming “Season Eight of Desperate Housewives will roll out in a way that is accessible even to viewers who may have lapsed in their viewing, and be all the richer and more rewarding to the series’ loyal fans.” Cherry elaborated that the “mystery of what’s going on in the final season harkens back to the first season,” to “the roots of the Mary Alice mystery,” which kicked off the series seven years ago. “It feels right that that would be the storyline that would take us out.” As a result, I hear that Brenda Strong, who narrates the series as Mary Alice but has only made a handful of appearances on the show, may get more screen time this season. Asked whether Nicollette Sheridan’s character Edie Britt will make a return, Cherry, who is being sued by the actress over her termination from the show, made a pause before responding, “I don’t know how I would do that, but I have an idea for the last episode where I want to pay homage to everyone who has been on the show.”

Cherry, who said he had considered both an eight- and nine-season run for the show, described the reaction of the cast members to the news of the show’s end as “bittersweet” with “a touch of shock.” He ruled out the possibility of a Desperate Housewives spinoff, though he admitted that, in an emotional phone conversation with star Eva Longoria over the past two days, he told her, “I’m just going to put you in a van and have you solve mysteries,” prompting Lee to interject, “Bought! Done!” “The truth is, I thought about that a lot,” Cherry said about the possibility of spinning off Housewives. “I have had a lot of success doing that mix of a soap, a drama and mystery with Desperate Housewives after writing half-hour sitcoms for 15 years. Now Hallelujah is such a different animal. I’m trying to go places I haven’t gone before. That’s why I won’t do a spinoff and the things you see from me will be very different.” As for Hallelujah, which Cherry is now redeveloping, “I did a pilot, half of it was terrific, half of it wasn’t,” he said. He also gave credit to former ABC topper Steve McPherson, who “saved my life, saved my career” by picking up Desperate Housewives script after everyone else in town had passed on it. Here is the first promo clip for the final season just released by ABC: